C is for Cala Major - Emma's A-Z of Travel
Updated: Apr 4
Source: Cala Mayor | Neighbourhood Guide (rentahomemallorca.com)
When: Since 2012
Why: Parent's have an apartment here
Who: Family, Friends, anyone!
I'm not afraid (although I am ashamed) to say that when my parents told me they were going to buy an apartment in Majorca, I was a little peeved. We'd travelled all over the world on exciting adventures since I was small, and I didn't see the point of staying in one place. My mother would often say "you'll be glad of this when you're older". Snotty teenage me thought nah, no way, I'll be off on exciting excursions all the time. Of course now, 10 years on, with a full time job and thus budget to stick to and a love of the familiar that came to me so subtly I didn't even see it coming, I love it. Having somewhere I know to take friends, eating in my favourite places and impressing people with hidden treasures - it is just the best thing that could've happened.
I actually have a longer history in Cala Major - I learnt to walk on the beach pictured above, and my family had an apartment here a long time ago, so the town means a lot to us. Historically, Cala Major was one of the first resorts on Mallorca, with it's sheltered beach and blue sea. The Spanish royal family have chosen it as their holiday destination - you can see the King's Palace from our apartment balcony across the bay. There are some luxurious hotels, including the Nixe Palace, and with it's proximity to Palma it's a great place to "fly and flop" (another thing my mother says, feel free to adopt that into your vocabulary!). For those culture vultures out there, one of Mallorca's most important art collections is based in Cala Major. Joan Miro used to reside here and his old house and studio, now known as Fundacio Pilar i Joan Miro, is open to the public, displaying a large exhibition of his work. (Source: Cala Major, Mallorca | SeeMallorca.com)
Now for the fun part - who here likes a little tipple on their holibobs? Me too. Cala Major was the birthplace of my love to dance, more specifically in the legendary Rockefella's Disco Pub.
Those of you who have been out to Cala Major with me will have been and have your own opinions (keep them to yourself, because I love it). Those of you who have been with me more than once will also know that you never quite know what you're going to get. If you want a riotous crazy night, surrounded by sweaty Brits bopping to deep house, go somewhere else. Rockefella's is a classic locals night out - you'll certainly be swaying and diving as if you were the top contestant on Strictly. From about 14 I'd be in there til the early hours, and every time I go away I make my pilgrimage up the neon stairs, dragging whoever is with me (sometimes kicking and screaming). Even after the pandemic, when it had been a fair few years since I had visited due to flying restrictions, as soon as I walked in they played Blackstreet's No Diggity - the only song I can rap and a personal favourite of mine and my Dad's - and the toffee vodka was on it's way to a shot glass for me (it's the only place I drink that rubbish, but it's just so goooood). It feels like a homecoming every time.
Of course, you've got to be a little bit leathered to truly appreciate the joy that is the Disco Pub. So where's pre-drinks? If I could do a degree in finding quality watering holes, I'd probably get like a solid 2:2.
If you're anything like me, you'll probably have started drinking around midday on holiday. I always go for a white sangria jug, and there's nowhere better to get one of those with your lunch than the Pelicano restaurant by the pool at my apartment complex. It's open to the public, by the sea, and their pasta is delicious.
If you fancy cocktails and cool vibes, the first stop has to be Bar Pop (if you can get in!!). Serving tapas and specialising in mojitos, with a groovy ambience and vintage decor including an old-school telephone on every table (no joke), this place is great for a quick drink on your way to a good night.
Not enough coolness for you? El Point has got you covered. Partially hidden from the main road, it may look like a sandwich shop, but find your way through the archway and up the stairs and you'll be in their bohemian-esque outdoor lounge. They craft a selection of delicious cocktails, and Spanish measures certainly apply here.
Stumble back down to street level and if you're feeling brave, head to one of the on street bar/restaurants on your way down the hill to Rockefella's. I've been in them all, the Siesta has the comfiest seats and football for your fella. Just don't order a double - my friend that shall remain nameless can attest that this never EVER ends well and I cannot tell that story here or I will be shot.
But dear reader, let us be wise here. You've got to line that stomach, and the pasta at Pelicano might not cut it for you - I get it. Cala Major has something for everyone, from spice at Bon Thai (if you're lucky enough to get a table, and they also do delivery!), to a Bulldog Burger (fun fact: they have a sister bar in Palma city centre called YNot, but more on that when we get to P is for Palma!), where you can get any type of burger you ever could imagine. If you're in the mood for meat and lots of it, I can recommend the Crow's Nest - a South African-owned restaurant with amazing ocean views. We had this platter and between 3 of us (with 2 big eaters among us) we didn't even make a dent in it. It's going to cost you but it's going to be worth it.
Speaking of spending - if you're looking for a fancy evening out, get yourself to the Il Paradiso. It's a little walk away from the town centre, but the view and the food will be worth it. Situated as almost a direct neighbour to the King's Palace, Il Paradiso boasts views across Cala Major bay. It's the kind of place where you need to dress up (there's a doorman and everything!) so if you're going out here make sure you've packed your credit card (and maybe some tissues).
I am a firm believer that you don't need to spend a fortune to have a special moment. Queue one of my favourite hidden treasures of all time. A 20 minute walk (which can feel like 100 miles if
you're doing it in the August heat) from Cala Major, you'll find an archway with a sign for Bugambilia. Head on through and you'll see the blue sea laid out in front of you. This beach bar restaurant is the place to have a paella. I don't even want to put a picture below - it feels like a special place, one that I don't want anyone else to go to, so the fact that I am sharing this is a big deal. Like Rockefella's, every time I go to CM I have to bring my companions here. And again, like a night at the disco pub, you always come away with a story. Last time, a woman broke her leg behind us while we were eating, providing great (if a little nauseating) entertainment while we tried to break open prawns and dig through the rice for those late hidden pieces of delicious fish. This is another great place for a jug of white Sangria too!
As you can tell, it's a place that means a lot to, and every time I go there's something new to explore, be it shops, bars or eateries. Unfortunately, it's the type of town that will die in the rise of all inclusive resorts, with holidaymakers not bothering to leave the confines of their balconied prisons. Eat local people!!